Breakfast with ... Tinling CHOONG & Kam RASLAN
BELONGING TO NEITHER HERE NOR THERE. That was the common thread that bound both Tinling Choong’s and Kam Raslan’s talk at the 6th MPH Breakfast Club with LitBloggers on Saturday, July 28, 2007, which saw a tremendous turnout, thanks to people who care about literature and the writing and reading of it.
Being far from the centre of things, of not quite belonging to this or that, of living between cultures, of “multirootedness” and multi-hyphenates, these are the feelings that drive Tinling Choong’s writing in FireWife (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2007), her first novel, an “erotic phantasmagoria” that transcends boundaries. Having her first novel published was a dream-come-true for Tinling. “I got really lucky. The sun, the moon, everything somehow aligned!” She is now hard at work on her second novel, Yuyu and the Banyan Tree, which is due to be published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in 2009.
Kam Raslan also writes from the outside looking in. “You can be Malay and Muslim and still be outside the centre,” he says. Sometimes you need this sense of not-belonging to be able to write objectively. He found writing Confessions of an Old Boy (Marshall Cavendish, 2007) exhilarating, especially the process of creating “a world that’s bigger than the one you live in.”